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If you were to tell me I had to lose every single website and app but could keep one (on my desert island apps interview) I would keep Spotify. I adore the music service and have been a subscriber since it first made its apps available.

The way in which I can listen to music as the artist intended, as a whole album played in the right order, as well as being able to access that huge back catalogue makes Spotify for me the most important innovation since the web itself.

However increasingly the service is coming under attack from musicians - the latest to stick the boot in are Thom Yorke and music producer Nigel Godrich, who claim that the service is failing new music.

Nigel Godrich's argument is detailed in a series of tweets here, but to paraphrase, he believes that Spotify is great for listening to back catalogues, but fails new bands as they don't make enough money from its royalties pay outs. The industry average offers 0.4p per stream - meaning that 1m streams of a song generate about £3,800. Most songs receive far fewer streams, which in fairness won't even keep some bands in plectrums for long.

Godrich finishes his rant by throwing down the gauntlet. He says that either Spotify needs to change its approach to new music, or that musicians should vote with their feet and follow Thom Yorke's example and takes their tunes off the service.

To be fair to Godrich he doesn't come across as being too anti-Spotify, but he is addressing the fact that there is a very real issue with how the service works. He has been retweeting some interesting pro-Spotify replies too.

Some of the other tweets and posts this morning though have been a lot more critical of the service.

I am not too convinced though that the Spotify bashing is really that helpful - here's why.

1 Spotify is the best things that has ever happened to music online - Almost every significant album in history available for users to stream at any time. Come on, ten years ago that was the stuff of dreams. How many new bands have created music that is influenced by older bands - and the first place they got to hear the Gang of Four, Soft Boys and Cleaners From Venus etc was on Spotify.

Also some snooty musicians have been moaning about how Spotify has opened up the floodgates to all kinds of hapless amateurs. This is utterly wrong IMO. I have heard many more great new bands in the last three years than I did in the ten that proceeded them. There has been an explosion of new music and that has been fuelled by Spotify.

2 Spotify has got to get its business model right - The problem here is that Spotify could charge £20 a month for its services and give a big chunk of that to the musicians who provide new releases. But is anyone going to pay it? Personally I wouldn't have any issues with that. There is however a much more deep rooted problem. It revolves around the under of music in our society now. One musician friend of mine recently tweeted that people seem happier to spend five quid on a big bag of popcorn at the cinema than they do on an album.

At the other end of the scale there are those who are using Spotify's free service yet forking out the best part of £20 for new album releases on vinyl. Spotify has got to get its business plan right. It has many real and potential rivals and quite a few of them come from companies that are way more aggressive like Google, Amazon and Apple. I know which of the four companies which one I'd rather give money too.

3 How can it change that business model? Godrich makes many good points, but he doesn't offer any real suggestions as to what Spotify should do. Here's a few ideas.

* Charge people an extra £5 a month to hear albums and tracks that have been released in the last five months.

* Introduce an optional levy on subscriptions where people can pay extra to support new artists

Err that's it. Unless anyone else has any better ideas.

Spotify won't push number one because - well people won't pay more for streamed online music and it creates an opportunity for a rival to offer that serve more cheaply.
Spotify could do two, but ultimately it wouldn't do musicians any favours as it makes them look like charity cases.

If musicians take their music off Spotify then ultimately it will wither away.

4 Musicians never made that much money from royalties anyhow - Let's be serious about this, did radio plays of anything other Walking On Sunshine and Unbelievable generate enough money to pay anyone's mortgages? Thought not. Here's a view on this from the legend that is @solobasssteve . Musicians have traditionally made their money in other ways. At the very least Spotify does give bands profile, and that profile could lead to much greater things.

5 New musicians need to use Spotify strategically
- Rather than place their whole album on there why not stick a few tracks on Spotify. Put the rest on Bandcamp, where incidentally people can still stream for nothing, or make the music available just as downloads. If people get hooked enough on your music then maybe just maybe they might pay for it.

6 Spotify needs to reach out to musicians more - How about some dialogue? Get some musicians on a board with maybe one of their representatives as part of the management team. It would be good PR for the company and might even help to resolve some of the issues musicians have with the service.

So finally can we please stop bashing Spotify. The big challenge for musicians, and indeed anyone who loves music, is to create a culture in which it is valued and that people are prepared to pay for it. Any ideas on how you achieve that are much appreciated.

Btw here's a load of great new music - if you like a bit of psych/shoegaze/dreampop

The jury really is out on most retro gadgets. Quite often they try a little too hard and come across as a pale pastiche of the products they are trying to imitate. Or they are so low-tech that they are almost useless in the modern world.

Here are nine though that we think deserve the moniker of retro gadget classics.

I imagine that when Kickstarter was first set up its founders imagined it being the vehicle by which all manner of high-tech projects got funded. From new computer games to off the wall gadgets and more. In fact even things like this amazing swimming pool.

I am not too sure though that they ever considered that the site would evolve as a significant funder of, wait for it, the vinyl revival, but that is increasingly becoming the case.

Imagine that you are a small band with a dedicated following. It is easy to set up a Bandcamp account and start selling your music. For credibility's sake though you need it created in a physical format. I work for a magazine which these days won't review anyhting that isn't in a physical format (ie CD, vinyl) as well as a download.

Personally I think that's a bit short-sighted but I do understand why they do it. It certainly sorts the wheat from the chaff.

But if you are a band with ambition just creating a CD doesn't really cut it. For credibility's sake you need vinyl. There is a growing army of music buyers who still download songs, but for whom their main source of listening pleasure is good old vinyl records. And if you are making dance music, or are part of alternative music genres like psychedelia, vinyl is a must.

Enter Kickstarter which these days is chocka with bands wanting to release their music on record.

And amazingly a high percentage of seem to be getting funded. Take for example Astro Nautico - they are a New York based group who major on soulful electronic sounds.They wanted $8000 for to create a vinyl album of their music- and they got it funded.

Also doing very well at the movement is a massive favourite of mine - Kosmischer Läufer (see video at the top) - who are hoping to take the digital download they created a few months back and make it into a proper record. The superb music is either- East German Kraut Rock from the 70s that was designed to help athletes run faster, or a groups of Scots with a wicked sense of humour. You decide. Nevertheless the tracks are fantastic and I am pleased to say that they look on target to reach the £1500 they need to create an album.

Also on the verge of a Kickstarter funded vinyl project -in this case a single - is Salisbury's very own Sgt Pepper Beaulieu Porch. The one man band who released a superb Strawberry Fields Forever style psych album last year and followed it up with another corker this year too.

Beaulieu is hoping to raise around £650 to create a single of his track The View From Gainsborough and with 20 or so days to go is half way there. Asked why he has chosen the format Simon Berry aka Beaulieu Porch said.

As for vinyl, I have noticed a growing trend amongst music fans for vinyl over CDs and downloads, which is probably, quite rightly, down to the overall aesthetic of the thing. I'm serious about what I do and for me, making my music and the artwork and all is an absolute pleasure and delight.

It seems then that in order to make Kickstarter work as a band looking to create a single you do have to have something of a track record. but as source of investment for vinyl it looks like it is becoming very useful.

Our affection for retro looking cameras probably never really went away. Old school snapper are however very much back in the spotlight thanks to the Lomography craze, the re-invention of instant cameras and even digital snappers, like the Fujifilm XF1, being kitted out with a really striking liveries.

Here are eight of our favourites

Here is our selection of high-end cases for the Apple iPhone 5, from ultra stylish designer wallets through to quirky, but pricey customised cases.

mumford glasto win.jpgSo who was the most popular act at the Glastonbury festival this year? Well it has to be The Stones right whose Saturday night performance was the festival's biggest, and some have said best, gigs ever.

However when it comes to Twitter the Stones actually ran out in second place. According to research undertaken by MC Saatchi the band that got the most Twitter action was actually Sunday's headliners - folk pop troubadours Mumford and Sons

The company reports that

At its peak, nine of the 10 UK trends on Saturday night related to the festival.

However on Sunday The Mumfords notched up over 70,000 tweets an hour, nearly 10,000 more than the veteran rockers had the night before.

So how can the Mumfords beat The Stones? Here are few theories

1 The Mumfords have a younger audience than The Stones - and therefore more likely to be on social media sites

2 A lot of people were tweeting about how much hated the Mumfords. I would love to know the negative/positive sentiment of the tweets on Sunday (how about it MC Saatchi?) The Mumfords really are the Marmite of UK pop.

3 More people were out on Saturday night, whereas on Sunday they were preparing for the return to work with a spot of Twitter powered TV.

Or it could just be that Mumford and Sons are more popular than the Rolling Stones. And on that bombshell...

Btw here's Ronnie accepting defeat gracefully

At the moment if you want to buy a Phablet aka a big screen mobile, your best bet is clearly the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It has a striking screen, lightning quick processor and one of the best cameras on a mobile.

There's also a good selection of cases available for the phone too

Check these out.

Pink gadgets are back! Here's the evidence


Round about five years ago the stores were awash with gadgets in all manner of pink. Pretty much every consumer electronics maker had a selection of phones, music players and more in salmon, fuchsia, coral or just shockingly loud.

But then along came the iPhone and the market for girly pink gadgets seem to die almost overnight.

There are however signs that pink gadgets might be about to make a comeback. So if you want pink gadgets here are a few that are of the more recent contenders.

There are thousands of iPhone 5 cases, but not many of them are as quirky or as lovable as this lot.

Quickie guide to Apple iPad mini cases

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Here's a round up of some of the latest Apple iPad mini cases. Includes cases from fashion houses alongside smart models that incorporate Bluetooth keyboards and more.

At some point in late summer Apple will take the wraps off its Apple iPhone 5. The new phone is expected to keep the body and styling of the iPhone 5 but boast some new innovative features. At the moment the speculation is that it will have some software innovations and a much enhanced camera.

Coming even later in the year, or more likely in 2014, will be the iPhone 6 which will be complete revamp of the Apple mobile. At the present time no one really knows what that handset will feature, but the rumours are coming thick and fast.

The handset is likely to be pivotal one for Apple for so far 2013 has been comparatively turbulent year for the maker in the phone market. Let us not forget firstly though that Apple is still selling ridiculous amounts of phones. It is just that, well other makers are working on mobiles that put the iPhone 5 in the shade. For the first time in a long time Apple is having to play catch up

Apple is however a company that when it does play catch up, it plays its hand brilliantly. It wasn't the first maker to deliver an MP3 player, touch screen phone or tablet PC, but when it did it produce models in those form factors they were way superior to anything that had gone before.

So it will be fascinating to see how it responds both in the late summer and early next year.

Here then are the key areas that other makers are focusing on in their bid to create new markets, increase market share and steal punters away from Apple and other mobile makers.

Samsung Galaxy S4 High-End/luxury Cases

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Samsung's Galaxy S 4 continues to be one of the fastest selling phones ever. And if you have bought one then you'll need one of these high-end-ish, luxury cases to protect your lovely new mobile.

The best BlackBerry Q10 Cases

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Since its launch the Q10 has become very popular with BlackBerry devotees. This could well be because its keeps the company's trademark keyboard at the expense of a few inches off the screen size.

Naturally there has already been a large number of cases for the mobile. Here is our pick of the bunch.

PS4_10.jpgThere was a time when Sony was the ultimate name in consumer electronics. It had a superb range of high-end products in a number of sectors that were just better designed, better built and crammed with more useful and innovative features than its rivals.

Then about a decade or so ago things started to go a little awry. Hamstrung by its ties to content companies it let some of its leading brands ie the Walkman slide to be superseded by the brilliant products coming out of Cupertino.

The level of innovation declined and even in gaming it found itself running a poor third behind Microsoft and Nintendo.

More recently there has been a subtle change at the company. Maybe it has just focused more on product design (maybe taking a cue or two from Apple) or maybe it has decided to really give consumers what they want (and not agonise about the impact on its music, games and video sles) but its products have once again become, whisper it, rather cool.

The ditching of the unwieldy Sony Ericsson combination has certainly helped and the arrival of 4K TVs and tablets has opened up new opportunities for the company, but it just feels like Sony has rediscovered its mojo.

Here then are five examples of how Sony has returned to form.

1 The new PS4 trumps the X Box One

The two new games consoles are fairly similar in terms of looks, hardware and range of games. But the Sony has a few trump cards. Firstly it has removed the restrictions regarding the playing of used games - which has been massively well received by gamers. Also you don't need an online connection to play games and the console is region-free. The clincher though might just be the price, with the PS4 coming in at £349, which could be as much as £80 cheaper than its Microsoft rival.

2 Sony has the only Android tablet to seriously rival the iPad

In fact a few writers have even suggested that the Sony Xperia Z tablet has the edge over its 10inch Apple competitor. It is an absolute stunner. Incredibly thin and light, yet a breeze to use and has a superb screen and excellent sound quality. It is waterproof so you can watch movies in the bath too. If you have £400 to spend on 10inch tablet you need to look at this beauty first.

3 Sony is leading the way in 4K TVs

Super high resolution 4K TVs are set to become big news later in 2013 and Sony is already setting the standard. On its books it has the flagship monster screen 84-inch 84X9005 and coming soon are the Sony KD-55X9000A and the Sony KD-65X9000A.55 and 65inch screen sets respectively which have prices tags starting at £4,000. This will start to begin the coast of 4K Tvs down and Sony is very well placed to dominate the 4k market.

4 It is rumoured to have an amazing smartphone on its way

As if the excellent Xperia Z with its groundbreaking waterproof screen wasn't enough, there's already quite a buzz about the next big smartphone from the company. The rumours are that the Honami will pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip clocked at a staggering 2.3GHz - way faster that any of its rivals. It will also be powered by a huge 3,000mAh battery pack that will deliver running times that are well clear of rival smartphones. The screen is rumoured to be stunning too in that it is a 5-inch Full HD 1080p display running 'Triluminos' technology. The phone will be made from glass, metal and carbon fibre, and be absolutely stunning to look at. And to top it all it will sport a 20-megapixel camera accompanied by a huge 1/1.6-inch Exmor RS sensor.

5 It is making great laptops again

For while now Sony laptops have been also rans. Which a shame because there was a time when if you wanted a Windows laptop the extra you paid for design and build quality for a Sony was a very sensible investment. The new Vaio Pro is definitely a return to form. It is light, made from carbon fibre and has an Intel Haswell heart. There's a lovely screen, very good quality battery life and a decent keyboard - which not all Sony laptops have featured recently. It might be pricey at around £1000 but this might just be the best Windows 8 laptop on sale.


The other day we took a peek at some of the most interesting men's watches on sale, You know the ones that pack gadgets, sport unusual features or simply require a degree in astrophysics in order to tell the time.

But why should the blokes have all the fun? Here is a selection of our favourite women's watches.

Very soon now the world of watches will be changed forever as Apple, Samsung and whole load of others release their smart watches into the world. So instead of checking your texts on your mobiles you'll be checking your wrist.

But it is likely that smart watches even if they become huge will not appeal to everyone, People buy watches for all manner of reasons. Sure some to access features and gadgets but other times simply because they look stunning.

Here then is a round up of watches for men that are either stylish or packed with interesting widgets.

Next week Apple diehards and fan people gather together for its annual WWDC bash. It comes at a very interesting time for Apple with its iPhone range in dire need of a refresh and its tablets under attack from all sides.

However, unless there is a massive surprise, don't expect new iPhones and iPads next week. There are ongoing rumours that the company has had some production problems with several elements of its 2013 range and that we won't hear product announcements until later in the Summer, or maybe even the Autumn.

So what can we expect?

As you would expect one of the fastest selling phones in mobile history has spawned a huge number of cases and accessories.

Interestingly there is already quite a number of high-end luxury style cases for the mobile and here are our favourites.

Though if you want a really flash phone then go here.

Bought yourself a lovely new iPad mini? Well the range and the quality of the cases for your new device gets better all the time.

Here are our favourite new high-end iPad mini cases.

Seems like there's a festival for everyone these days - even for us less naturally out-doors types. So even better news is there are lots of festival gadgets and gear, perfect for those not wanting to suffer out in the cold: There's nothing like a wonder-widget-that-does-it-all to make us happier campers, so here's our top ten gadgets and cool comforts we would definitely pack into our camper van...

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